Saturday, April 14, 2012

And the Winner Is...

My husband and I had a wonderful time tonight at the Pilgrim Lutheran School fundraising auction and dinner.  Bravo Dog Training raised some money for the school with a dog training basket - full of great toys, treats and more, plus a certificate for either a board and train program or private lessons.  I didn't see the final bid, but I know we raised about $400 for Ethan's school.  Thanks to everyone who bid!

Here's Ethan with me, ready to head out to the auction.  It was a country-western theme, hence the blue jeans.  Yes, I do wear pants other than blue jeans; it has been known to happen.  Once or twice.  Ethan played with the other kids in a babysitting room, so Mom and Dad got to enjoy the night like proper grown ups.  It was a fun event.

Earlier today I had an initial session with a wonderful couple from our church, Cedar Hills United Church of Christ.  They have a very enthusiastic 2-year-old Lab who will be a ton of fun to train.  The family has been through a couple other trainers that they weren't happy with, but after our session today they asked to schedule 6 additional sessions!  I think it will be a good match, and I'm happy that they have found a trainer that can work with them to mold their zealous (okay, cover your ears puppy, obnoxious) Labrador into a model citizen.  Oh, and I'm happy that trainer is me!  I do love the wild and crazy dogs.  It is so much fun to take all that energy and redirect it to positive, useful behaviors.

One problem that we got to work on right away was the dog's habit of darting out the front door and playing a joyous (for the dog, let me be clear. Owners, not-so-joyous) game of catch-me-if-you-can.  Let's be honest, even for an Olympic level sprinter (which no one in this family is, to my knowledge), catching a long-legged 90 lb lean-mean-Labrador-running-machine is hopeless for us bumbling 2 legged humans.  I wrote a piece not long ago on "un-training" a dog to come when called.  Their dog was a good example of this.  The solution?  Going back to square one and training the dog to come using my "hidden food" recall method, teaching "wait" at the front door (and when coming out of the crate, just for extra training opportunities), and a strict ban on any chances to get out the front door until he is fully trained.

Do you know a dog that doesn't come when called?  Even a dog that comes 90% of the time isn't trained well enough - that 10% can be anything from frustrating to fatal.  But it is a fixable problem!

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